ISLAMABAD: Top military commanders, who met on Wednesday against the backdrop of the recent spike in terrorist attacks in the country, agreed that any concrete action against militant hideouts would require a ‘political ownership.’
“Political backing for the military action is crucial to achieve desired results,” a defence source told The Express Tribune after the day-long meeting of formation commanders in Rawalpindi. The meeting, which was presided over by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, was attended by all corps commanders, principle staff officers and formation commanders.
The half yearly gathering of top generals coincided with the recent terror wave in the country, including Sunday’s brazen assault on the Karachi Airport that left dozens dead.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the forum was given comprehensive briefings on the external and internal security environment. “The participants of the conference also dwelt at length on various professional matters,” it added.
However, the military’s media wing did not provide details about the discussions on internal and external security situation.
Military sources said the meeting discussed options to deal with the situation arising out of a series of attacks including the one at Karachi Airport as well as the killing of two army colonels near Tarnol. They said there was a consensus among participants that the state must respond to such acts of terrorism in a befitting manner.
While they expressed the army’s willingness to take on the challenge, they emphasised the need for ‘political ownership’ of any action against militants.
The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which has been pushing for a peace deal with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is so far reluctant to seek a military solution to the problem.
But following the recent spike in terrorist attacks, it is now facing immense pressure from the security establishment as well as certain opposition parties including PPP and ANP to consider alternatives.
In a first sign of apparent policy shift,PM Nawaz on Tuesday gave a go ahead to the army to preempt further terrorist attacks. However, the decision on whether to launch a full-scale military offensive in North Waziristan will be taken after more deliberations, said official sources.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2014.